Healthcare or Warfare, Time to Choose

By David Swanson

The greatest purveyor of violence in the world is, by no coincidence, also the wealthiest nation in the world that does not provide its people with health coverage. About one in six Americans has no health coverage at all, and another two or three out of those six lack adequate coverage even though they pay more than enough to receive it and to provide it to those who lack it as well.

Millions of Americans, consequently, lack preventive health care, are deeply in debt for the expenses of emergency treatment, are forced to work longer hours to provide health coverage to themselves and their families, and suffer unnecessary illnesses and deaths. One result of this is that Americans have less time and freedom and energy to invest in civic life, including in peace demonstrations and lobbying of elected officials. If we had universal health care, we would be in a much better position to demand universal heath care. Isn’t that how it always seems to go?

Now, our government is funded and heavily lobbied by the oil barons and weapons makers and disaster capitalists – the corporations who destroy and then pretend to rebuild. We dump at least half of every tax dollar into these immoral expenses. In fact, we spend as much on our military as do the rest of the nations of the world combined, and we call those expenses “defense” although they are used entirely for offensive wars, bombing missions, and the maintenance of a thousand military bases in other people’s countries.

To contrast this gluttonous expense with our health care disaster can be misleading if taken to imply that the money should be moved from killing to saving. The fact is that, as a society if not as a government, we already spend enough on health to provide universal coverage and have money left over. But we don’t use our government to create efficiencies. Instead as much as a third of every dollar goes into waste and bureaucracy and advertising for the private insurance industry. Eliminating those middlemen and simply providing everyone with health care, to be paid for by the government, would eliminate 90 percent of the paperwork. The health coverage would be public – as it should be. The health care would still be private. You choose any private doctor you want, just leave with no paperwork, including no bill. If this sounds too good to be true, remember that every other wealthy nation on earth already does this and gets more health care for less money than we do.

So ask your representative in Congress to sign onto H R 676 and visit:

http://pdamerica.org

Even though we already have the money for health care, we do not have the money for many other things. We do not have the money for bridges, for green energy, for jobs, for housing, for education. Top quality education for everyone for free from preschool to post-graduate school is entirely possible. The money exists. It’s just being dumped into the occupation of Iraq. Much of it is being borrowed, and our grandchildren will be paying China for it through their whole lives, but investing money in jobs programs and education would benefit our economy and help pay for itself in ways that enriching a handful of war profiteers does not.

So ask your representative in Congress to commit publicly to voting No in April on another $100 billion for the occupation of Iraq.

One of the best ways to persuade a representative is to hold a Town Hall Meeting and fill the hall with people who care and are willing to speak passionately. That gets their attention.

Visit Democrats.com to get involved.

We’re asking the 500,000 members of Democrats.com to organize Iraq Town Halls in all 435 Congressional districts to confront Congress with the message that we know they have the power to stop the funding of the Iraq Occupation and we insist that they use it. Find all the details at:

http://democrats.com

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